A Multiform Foundation formed under the Nevis Multiform Foundations Ordinance, 2004, is a highly flexible entity, of which its Memorandum of Establishment states whether it should be treated as a Company Foundation, Trust Foundation, Partnership Foundation or as an ordinary Nevis Foundation.
A Nevis Multiform Foundation is not restricted to function only as a foundation in that it is capable of accommodating and catering to the needs of its subscriber (founder) by being able to fulfill any one of the aforementioned roles, which may be changed to another at any time in the Foundation's life.
The assets of a Nevis Foundation take on a separate legal entity from the personal assets of the subscriber, the management board or the beneficiaries. These assets endowed to the Nevis Foundation has no specific owner other than the Foundation.
A Nevis Multiform foundation can be used either for philanthropic or charitable, as well as for inheritance and estate planning and asset protection. Additionally, the Nevis Foundation can also be used for confidentiality purposes, to maintain corporate control under a veil of privacy.
It can own property in any form, conduct business, trade, and any other commercial activity.
Although it may not engage in habitual profit-making commercial activities, it may carry out commercial activities from time to time, as long as the profits of those activities are used for the objectives of the Foundation.
It can be a powerful holding instrument in which can be held various asset classes and investments: real property, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, deposits, investment holdings, mutual funds, money markets, art collections, pension funds, among others.
A Multiform Foundation may be formed to benefit persons, however, there is no requirement to name a beneficiary.
It can be revocable or irrevocable and it can exist for life, as the rule against perpetuities does not apply.
The Nevis Multiform Foundation Ordinance, 2004, permits foreign foundations and foreign and domestic companies to continue, transfer, consolidate or merge into a multiform foundation.
In addition, Nevis has one of the most robust legislation in terms of asset protection. An asset transfer can only be set aside by factual evidence of actual fraud.
The general statute of limitations in Nevis for fraudulent transfers is two years (in some cases one year).
Nevis does not recognize a foreign judgment. The creditor must file a new claim in Nevis and prove the actual fraud in the new case there. Furthermore, the creditor must hire a lawyer licensed in Nevis, and post a cash bond to file the lawsuit.
Once the new litigation is filed in Nevis, the creditor must prove the actual fraud by a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, stating that there is a probability of more than 90 percent that his allegation is true.
The foundation cannot be void or voidable in the event of the subscriber’s bankruptcy, insolvency, or liquidation.
Furthermore, Nevis boasts strict privacy laws against disclosure of the affairs of the foundation and details of subscribers, board members, officers or beneficiaries are not available to the public.
Regarding taxation, a Multiform foundation is exempt from all form of local taxes, provided that no assets are held in the jurisdiction and no beneficiaries are residents in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
However, Nevis Multiform Foundations may elect to be tax resident in Nevis and pay an annual income tax of 1%.
Nevis Multiform foundations may be restricted to do business with residents in Nevis or own real properties in the jurisdiction. They are also prohibited to carry out banking or insurance activities without the proper license.
However, it may have professional relationship with local lawyers, advisors and accountants, it may hold meetings and maintain bank accounts in Nevis.
The subscriber is who establish the foundation, its rules and transfer his or her assets, the subscriber may be also the beneficiary or a management board member.
The subscriber can establish a foundation upon his or her death by will.
The management board members are who administer the foundation assets in accordance with its bylaws. For instance, if the the multiform foundation takes the form of a trust, the management board will act as trustees, if it takes the form of a corporation, the board will act as a board of directors.
At least one member of the management board must be a Nevis resident.
A secretary will assist on the administration of the foundation, who may not be the sole member of the management board.
The founder or subscriber may appoint a supervisory board, with duties which are similar to the protector of a trust since it must ensure compliance by the foundation and the management board with the provisions of the foundation bylaws and supervise the management and conduct of the foundation by the management board members.
The subscriber/s, management board members, beneficiaries or protector/s may be natural persons or corporations of any nationality.
All in all, a Nevis Multiform foundation is a commonly used vehicle for asset protection, estate and succession planning, wealth management, as well as a holding company.
Country code – KN
Legal basis – Common law
Legal framework – Nevis Multiform Foundation Ordinance, 2004
Regulatory board – Nevis Financial Services Regulatory Commission
Entity – Multiform Foundation.
Each Nevis Foundation has a stated Multiform, which means that the constitution of the Foundation states whether it should be treated as a trust, a corporation, a limited liability company or an ordinary Foundation.
The constitutional format and the stated identity of the Foundation can be changed during its lifetime, thereby allowing for greater flexibility in its use and application
Liability - The properties and resources of a Multiform Foundation constitute an independent patrimony from that of the Subscriber, the Management Board, and Beneficiaries.
Patrimony – There is no minimum amount required for the initial or future subscriptions of a Multiform Foundation.
Subscriber - In order to establish a Multiform Foundation, a person who is referred to as a ‘subscriber’ must transfer assets held in his personal capacity to the foundation. The transfer of assets is known as a ‘subscription’, and such action will be irrevocable unless otherwise stated in the bylaws. Nevis foundations can be formed by individuals or corporate bodies.
Management Board – The business and affairs of a Multiform Foundation must be managed by the management board which must administer the entity’s assets in accordance with its bylaws.
The management board may be formed by the founder or a beneficiary, but must have at least one Nevis resident member.
The management board will have different titles depending on the form that the multiform foundation assumes. If the form of the foundation is a trust, it will be known as a ‘trust foundation’ and the trustees will act as the management board. Likewise, if the multiform is that of a company or a limited liability company, it will be known as a ‘company foundation’.
The management board will be comprised of the company’s directors or the limited liability company’s managers. Where the foundation assumes the form of a partnership, it is referred to as a ‘partnership foundation’, and the managing partner will be appointed to the management board.
Supervisory board - The Ordinance takes a page from trust law by allowing a Multiform Foundation to have a supervisory board, in addition to the management board. The founder can empower another person to oversee the Foundation and the board.
The supervisory board engages in duties which are similar to the protector of a trust since it may exercise limited authority over the management board of a multiform foundation as detailed in the bylaws.
Secretary – The management board is assisted in its administration of the foundation by a secretary.
The secretary may be a natural or legal person but shall not be the sole member of the management board.
Beneficiaries – A Multiform Foundation may be formed to benefit persons; however, there is no requirement to name a beneficiary.
Foundation By-laws - The governing documents of a Multiform Foundation or its ‘bylaws’ allow the structure to have a level of flexibility, as it can choose a law other than the Ordinance to govern either all or a portion of the entity. The Ordinance allows a multiform foundation to be formed for more than one purpose or object, provided that such purpose or object is not offensive to Nevisian law.
Registered Agent – In order to establish a Multiform Foundation, the subscriber must attain the services of a financial services provider licensed by the Government of Nevis to act as Registered Agent of the structure.
The Registered Agent must provide the Registrar of Foundations with the name of the Multiform Foundation, its registered address, its initial multiform, the names and addresses of the management board and secretary and an English language copy of the entity’s bylaws.
Foreign Judgements - Any lawsuit which is brought against a multiform foundation must be brought in the High Court of the Federation.
The Ordinance prohibits the enforcement of any foreign judgment which is obtained against any multiform foundation, its beneficiaries or any persons associated with an interest therein. Before beginning a legal action, the Claimant must post a bond of US$50,000 with the Minister of Finance.
The Ordinance provides that all proceedings, other than criminal matters, will be conducted in the Judge’s chambers and any details will not be published without the consent of the Judge.
Statute of Limitations - Any amounts contributed to a Multiform Foundation will not be considered fraudulent if the addition occurred either before or 1 year after the creditor’s cause of action arose.
If the subscription occurred before the expiration of 1 year before the creditor’s cause of action accrued and the creditor failed to bring the action before the expiration of 6 months since the subscription took place, the subscription will also not be considered fraudulent.
Forced heirship is not recognized under the laws of Nevis, a statute of limitations is in place.
Meetings - At least one annual meeting of the foundation is required by law. The foundation may hold such meetings anywhere.
Re-domiciliation – An entity incorporated outside of Nevis can be transformed into a Nevis Foundation; an existing Nevis entity can be converted into a Nevis Foundation.
Mergers - Two or more entities from outside or within Nevis can merge into a Nevis Multiform Foundation.
Privacy - There is provision for a balance between privacy and transparency. As with all Nevis entities, privacy is guaranteed under St Kitts and Nevis Confidentiality Act 1985. The Foundation can elect to have some or all information available on the public record.
Compliance – All Nevis foundations shall maintain accounting records that can show the board the foundations financial position at any time. Accounting records are not available to the public.
Nevis foundations must file annual returns in prescribed form — contains only information as on Memorandum of Establishment and changes that may have occurred during that year.
A Nevis Multiform foundation must renew its Certificate of Registration annually.
The Ordinance exempts the Multiform Foundation, any associated persons and any possible beneficiaries from the payment of taxes, however, the multiform foundation may advise the Registrar that it intends to become tax-resident and will pay taxes at a maximum rate of one per cent.
Upon the issuance of a tax-residency certificate, a tax return must be filed annually and the multiform foundation will make payments based on the entity’s stated net retained earnings.
- Corporate founder permitted
- Corporate council members permitted
- Protector/Guardian required
- Local regulated person required
- Founder not disclosed in a public registry
- Council members not disclosed in a public registry
- Protector/Guardian not disclosed in a public registry
- Beneficiaries not disclosed in a public registry
- Beneficiaries have right to information
- Merge permitted
- Redomiciliation permitted
- Charitable purposes permitted
- Registered agent required
- Common law Legal basis
- - Initial endowment of assets
- 1 Minimum council members
- 2018 AEOI
Multiform Foundations and any related persons and any possible beneficiaries are exempted from taxes.
However, a multiform foundation may elect to become Nevis tax-resident and may pay taxes at a maximum rate of 1%. After the issuance of the tax-residency certificate, a foundation must file a tax return annually and may pay tax based on the entity’s net retained earnings.
- Offshore Income Tax Exemption
- Offshore capital gains tax exemption
- Offshore dividends tax exemption
- CFC Rules
- Thin Capitalisation Rules
- Patent Box
- Tax Incentives & Credits
- Property Tax
- Wealth tax
- Estate inheritance tax
- Transfer tax
- Capital duties
- 0% Offshore Income Tax Rate
- 0% Corporate Tax Rate
- 0% Capital Gains Tax Rate
- 0% Dividends Received
- 0% Dividends Withholding Tax Rate
- 0% Interests Withholding Tax Rate
- 0% Royalties Withholding Tax Rate
- 0 Losses carryback (years)
- 0 Losses carryforward (years)
- 0% Personal Income Tax Rate
- 17% VAT Rate
- 36 Tax Treaties
Nevis is a Caribbean island located in the Windward Islands, in the Antilles. Along with the island of Saint Kitts, it constitutes the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. An independent sovereignty country, member of the Commonwealth and the CARICOM.
Saint Kitts & Nevis is the smallest country in the Americas, both in size and population. With an area of 261 sq. km and a population of 54,961 inhabitants. Its capital and the most populated city is Basseterre, in Saint Cristopher. Its official language is English. Its legal tender currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which has a fixed exchange rate with the dollar at 2.7: 1.
Being an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Saint Kitts and Nevis has a stable political and financial system.
The head of state of the islands is the British monarch, who elects a resident Governor-General to represent him in local affairs.
The prime minister is the leader of the majority party of the House, and the cabinet carries out state affairs. St. Kitts and Nevis have a single legislative chamber, known as the National Assembly. It is made up of fourteen members: eleven elected representatives (three from the island of Nevis) and three senators who are appointed by the Governor-General. Two of the senators are appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and another with the advice of the opposition leader.
Unlike other countries, the senators do not constitute a separate chamber of the Senate or upper chamber of the parliament, since they sit in the National Assembly, next to the representatives.
Saint Kitts and Nevis was the last place to practice sugar cane monoculture in the Lesser Antilles. But because the sugar industry was increasingly struggling to make a profit, the government decided to eliminate the large-scale sugar cane production and carry out a diversification program for the farming sector and stimulate the development of other sectors of the economy, particularly tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore financial services. The issue of postage stamps, mainly for philatelic collecting, is also an important source of income for its economy.
Saint Kitts and Nevis also offers a citizenship by investment program. Through a donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund or an investment in Real Estate, a foreigner would become a St Kitts and Nevis citizen and obtain a passport with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 136 countries (including South America and European Union).
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